Google Seeking Research Applicants on Internet Policy Issues

Google is looking for applicants to submit research proposals on a wide range of Internet policy issues, such as accessibility, governance and open standards.


Twice a year, Google's Faculty Research Awards program seeks out research proposals in 23 study areas for a wide range of new ideas and innovations from faculty members at top universities around the world. As this fall's Oct. 15 deadline for submissions approaches, Google is putting out a call for great research ideas, this time specifically in the always-evolving world of Internet policy.

The latest call for proposals was made by Vint Cerf, a father of the Internet and the chief Internet evangelist for Google, in a July 24 post on the Google Research Blog. Incoming proposals will be assigned to Google staffers who will then assess and deliberate over which proposals the company should and can fund, he wrote.

"With each call for proposals, we receive a wide array of research ideas in fields that fall within the realm of Internet policy," wrote Cerf. This year, Google is particularly interested in proposals in several related Internet policy areas, he said, including accessibility for people with varying types of disabilities or handicaps; access issues for people in areas where Internet service is unaffordable or unobtainable; and intellectual property issues such as how IP legislation can enable new technologies, and what effect different national or regional IP regimes have on innovation, he wrote.

Google is also interested in receiving proposals about freedom of expression issues on the Internet, including "research that produces insights into how discourse and expression in the global online (public) sphere happens, and how stakeholders best allow freedom of expression, balance it with other rights and resolve conflicts or interest/disputes," he wrote.

Internet governance is also an area of interest, he wrote. "The Internet is a universal space that many expect to remain open, free and borderless. Multiple stakeholders (Internet companies, governments and civil society) work together to design the governance practices and institutions to maintain order and innovation in the global Internet ecosystem. We are interested in supporting top researchers who analyze and contribute insights into which practices and institutional structures work and which don't."

In addition, the topic of "open standards and interoperability of services are at the core of the Internet's successful international propagation and usefulness," wrote Cerf. "Google is interested in research that contributes analysis and best practices for standardization and interoperability. Among them we see resource management, access control and authorities for the Internet of things, as well as questions regarding convergence and security. Also, cloud computing and storage could benefit from open standards that enable interoperability."

Full details of the rules and deadlines for the awards program are available on Google's Faculty Research Awards Website.

Google maintains the program as part of its commitment "to developing new technologies to help our users find and use information," according to the company. "While we do significant in-house research and engineering, we also maintain strong ties with academic institutions worldwide pursuing innovative research in core areas relevant to our mission. As part of that vision, the Google Research Awards program aims to identify and support world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest."

The Google Research Awards are one-year awards to universities to support the work of full-time faculty members at top universities around the world, according to Google. Recipients are selected through a comprehensive internal review process and notified of their awards within four months of the initial submission. Faculty members can apply for up to $150,000 in eligible expenses, but actual award amounts are frequently less than the full amount requested. Most awards are funded at the amount needed to support basic expenses for one graduate student for one year.

Earlier in July, Google shared some of the most influential research papers produced by Google researchers in 2013 on topics from algorithms to machine learning to robotics and more.

Google and its staff are often working on research in many topics in computing.

In May 2014, Google launched a new Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab to find ways to make computers much smarter so they can help solve some of the world's most challenging problems, from diseases to environmental threats.

In February, it announced its first-ever Google App Engine Research Awards to seven projects that will use the App Engine platform's abilities to work with large data sets for academic and scientific research. The new program, which was announced in the spring of 2012, brought in many proposals for a wide variety of scientific research, including in subject areas such as mathematics, computer vision, bioinformatics, climate and computer science.

Google created the fledgling App Engine Research Awards program to bolster its support of academic research, while providing academic researchers with access to Google's infrastructure so they can explore innovative ideas in their fields, according to Google. The App Engine platform is designed for managing heavy data loads and running large-scale applications.